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Slant 1-21-2016

• “Red Barn” is one well-known piece from the great legacy of Oregon artist Mark Clarke, who died suddenly Jan. 11 at age 80. His memorial was Jan. 17 in The Shedd. Remembered both for how he captured his surroundings in oil and acrylic, and for how he and his family lived in this world, Mark Clarke fortunately had been planning a retrospective in the Schnitzer museum on the UO campus next year. We have that to look forward to.

• “What can we do about it?” was a recurring question Jan. 15 at the City Club of Eugene meeting about racial and cultural inequity in health services. Easy answer: Work harder than we’ve ever worked before to keep any of these Republican presidential candidates from winning office in November 2016. If one of them does win, Obamacare will be gone, the Supreme Court will be even more conservative, affecting voting rights, and present inequity in health services will grow, grow, grow. We only have 10 months to keep that from happening.

• Oregon Republicans are gathering for their annual Dorchester Conference March 11-13 in Seaside and they will actually be talking about gun safety this year. WTF? Maybe they are feeling pressure to do something beyond their usual defense of unfettered gun ownership. On the confab agenda is discussion of whether gun owners should be legally culpable if someone else uses their firearms in criminal acts. We don’t expect the R’s to push any positive legislation, but at least they are recognizing one aspect of our irresponsible gun culture.

• The VanillaISIS occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge has drawn a lot of attention, and mockery, to Oregon. But one positive aspect of the shitshow that is the Bundy-led Y’allQaeda takeover of the Malheur is the focus that has come to bear on how much Oregonians love our public lands. More than 100 people slogged out in the cold rain on Jan. 19 to rally for the refuge here in Eugene. More calls for “birds not bullies” were shouted at sister rallies organized by conservation groups in Portland, Salem and Idaho. Meanwhile, Eugene natives Jake and Zach Klonoski are leading an anti-Bundy effort to raise money by pledging donations to groups that are antithetical to the Bundys for each day they remain at Malheur. As of Jan. 19, they had raised more than $40,000 for Friends of Malheur NWR, Americans for Responsible Action, Burns Paiute tribe and the Southern Poverty Law Center. Their website is gohomemalheur.org.